Elements Purifying Gel Cleanser
This is a very standard, but good, water-soluble gel cleanser suitable for normal to oily skin. There's nothing too remarkable about the formula, but it rinses cleanly, removes most types of makeup, and won't leave skin feeling tight or dry. It's also inexpensive, although not quite as generously sized as many cleansers at the drugstore.
Avon added the plant extract Leontopodium alpinum leaf (edelweiss), which has anti-inflammatory properties (Sources: Mediators of Inflammation, October 2012 ePublication; Journal of Applied Toxicology, January 2009, pages 7–14; and Journal of Ethnopharmacology, May 2006, pages 421–426), but most of the benefit you might get from it is rinsed down the drain because this cleanser is meant to be rinsed off completely. (You never really want to leave cleansing ingredients on the skin for more than a few seconds.)
Last, the "hypoallergenic" claim is misleading, as we explain in the More Info section. In terms of this being suitable for sensitive skin: This cleanser contains fragrance and a few other ingredients that research shows are at best questionable if the company's goal is to create a cleanser appropriate for truly sensitive skin, or any skin type for that matter.
- Water-soluble formula rinses cleanly.
- Won't leave skin feeling tight or dry.
- Removes most types of makeup.
- The hypoallergenic claim is bogus because there's no regulation or agreed-upon guideline for the use of this term.
- Contains some ingredients (including fragrance) that are questionable in a product meant for sensitive skin, or any skin type for that matter. Fragrance is not skin care.
"Hypoallergenic" is little more than a nonsense word meant to make products sound safer or somehow better for sensitive skin. There are no accepted testing methods, ingredient restrictions, regulations, guidelines, rules, or procedures of any kind, anywhere in the world, for determining whether or not a product qualifies as being hypoallergenic. Any company can label any product "hypoallergenic" because there is no regulation that says they can't, no matter what proof they may point to—and what proof can they provide given there is no standard against which to measure? Given that there are no regulations governing this supposed category, which was made up by the cosmetics industry, there are plenty of products labeled "hypoallergenic" that actually contain problematic ingredients and that can indeed trigger allergic reactions, even for those with no previous history of skin sensitivity. The word "hypoallergenic" gives you no reliable understanding of what you are or aren't putting on your skin (Sources: www.fda.gov; Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, May 2004, pages 325–327; and Ostomy and Wound Management, March 2003, pages 20–21).
Gently foaming cleanser deeply cleans pores. With Pro-Vitamin B5. Hypoallergenic. Suitable for sensitive skin.
Strengths: Broad-spectrum sun protection from most of the SPF products; a selection of good cleansers, moisturizers, and serums; a phenomenal concealer and a handful of other excellent makeup products at bargain prices; the company provides complete ingredient lists on its Web site and offers some of the most helpful Customer Service associates in the industry.
Weaknesses: The Clearskin products are mostly irritating and poor choices for anyone battling blemishes; the Anew Clinical lineup isn't as impressive as its made out to be; an over-reliance on jar packaging diminishes the antioxidants found in many Avon moisturizers; endless, unnecessarily repetitive moisturizers with exaggerated, outlandish claims; some of the foundations look unnatural.
The last few years have been an interesting time for the world's largest direct seller. Avon is sold in 120 countries and has an enormous range of products that goes beyond skin care and makeup, all sold by five million Avon representatives racking up annual sales of over $8 billion (Source: www.avoncompany.com). Yet due to several quarters of lackluster or poor financial performance, the company announced a multiyear restructuring plan in 2006. The anticipated cost of these changes is upwards of $500 million, which includes downsizing under-performing areas and focusing on re-marketing their star products. In recent years, those key products have had "cosmeceutical" appeal, with claims that have gone beyond reality (but over-exaggerated claims sell big in the cosmetics industry).
The Anew Clinical line ushered in several products claiming to work like (or, in some instances, better than) cosmetic corrective procedures. Whether you are considering laser treatments, Botox, Thermage, collagen injections, or even liposuction, the ads for Anew Clinical were designed to make you rethink that decision.
It is definitely impressive that Avon invested $100 million on a state-of-the-art research and product development facility in New York, but despite some innovative products that compete with the best of the best (typically for much less money), no cosmetics company has (or will) produce skin-care products that rival or beat the results obtainable from medical procedures. It's admittedly easier to slather on a cream or stroke a pad over your face than to make an office call and shoulder the expense for a cosmetic corrective procedure, but in this case convenience and savings don't equal - or even come close to - comparable results. And lest we forget, despite the onslaught of so-called cosmeceutical products claiming to mimic the results such procedures provide, the number of these procedures being performed increases each year. If any of these works-like-(insert cosmetic corrective procedure here) products did work, the number of procedures would be declining, not rising.
The National Advertising Division (NAD) took issue with several claims Avon made in ads for their Anew Clinical products (Source: www.nadreview.org/default.asp?SessionID=1149178&DocType=1&CaseType=1). In some cases, Avon reworded their claims in ad reprints, while in others they "respectfully disagreed" with the NAD conclusions but agreed to take their comments into consideration for future ads. We'll see how this turns out, but, based on their current ads, the message remains that Anew Clinical products are at the forefront of making cosmetic corrective procedure results as easy as calling your Avon representative and reciting your credit card number.
As a major international cosmetics company, Avon has several initiatives in place that prove its commitment to women and the environment. Whether donating to women's health concerns (most notably breast cancer), surpassing environmental regulations, or financially supporting alternative methods to animal testing, Avon's principles are responsible and admirable. If you pay attention to the best of what they have to offer, you will not only be supporting Avon's mission to improve the lives of women but also gaining some wonderful products, making it a win-win situation.
For more information about Avon, call (800) 500-AVON or visit www.avon.com.
Avon may be viewed as a skin-care innovator, but when it comes to makeup they're more follow-the-leaders than trail blazers. Admittedly, their foundations, powders, blush, and lipsticks have smoother, more state-of-the-art textures than ever, but with few exceptions none of them are setting a precedent that other, more innovative companies are likely to follow.
You will find some outstanding Avon makeup products to consider, but perhaps due to the sheer size of the collection there are far too many mediocre products, especially among the eyeshadows, pencils, and mascaras. Given that Avon isn't as easy to obtain as comparable products at your local drug or department store, many of the makeup items end up being a tough sell. After all, who wants to go out of their way for average products? Turning to what Avon does really well, you'll find their loose and pressed powders have amazingly silky textures and natural finishes. Their blushes are wonderful, and a few of the lipsticks and foundations are definitely worth talking about with enthusiasm. Another positive point is that Avon regularly discounts their makeup, often upwards of 50% during any given campaign (Avon's campaigns run for two weeks and the specials change each time). If you shop at the right time, the best of Avon color can be yours for less than you'd pay for most low-cost drugstore makeup.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.